3 Patriots gain All-Region baseball recognition

Florence, SC - From Francis Marion University

FLORENCE, SC – Three Francis Marion University baseball players were recently named to various All-Region Teams.

Senior shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht was named to the first-team Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Southeast Region Team, while freshman right-handed pitcher Don Sandifer was selected to the second-team. Both Kleinknecht and Sandifer were first-team selections to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-Southeast Region squad, while senior right-handed relief pitcher Brandon Forshee was a second-team pick. All three were also named to the Daktronics All-Southeast Region Team, with Kleinknecht gaining first-team honors and Sandifer and Forshee earning second-team recognition.

Kleinknecht, a native of Florence, led FMU with a .371 average and was the team-leader in runs scored (55), hits (79), doubles (19), homers (13), runs batted in (46), and slugging percentage (.662). He also shared team lead in stolen bases (10-of-12). He compiled 24 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBIs games, while reaching base safely in 48 of 53 games. Nationally, he is ranked as the 56th toughest player to strike out with only 14 punchouts in 248 plate appearances and is 11th in Division II with eight sacrifice flies. He owns a .959 fielding percentage, is fourth in the Peach Belt Conference in fielding assists, and had a hand in 24 double plays this season.

He ended the season with an 11 game-hitting streak, his second double-digit streak of the year, and he batted 11-for-20 in post-season play.

Kleinknecht earned second-team All-Region honors from all three organizations last year.

Sandifer, a native of Bamberg, was 7-1 with a conference-best 2.73 earned run average. He led the PBC in fewest walks, runs, and earned runs allowed and had the third-best opponent batting average against at .230. In 69.1 innings pitched, he allowed only 59 hits, struck out 49, and walked only nine, ranking him ninth nationally in fewest bases-on-balls issued per nine innings.

Forshee, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., led Francis Marion in appearances (27), while topping the PBC in saves and ranking third nationally. He posted a 3-0 mark with a 2.88 ERA and was 13-for-15 in save opportunities, while allowing only 27 hits in 34.1 innings and a .220 opponents' batting average against. His save total equaled the FMU team single-season record. He struck out 28 batters and walked only eight. His 17 career saves ranks second in team history.

Forshee was also a second-team NCBWA All-Region pick in 2009.

The three players helped Francis Marion to a 40-14 record and a second straight appearance in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The 40 victories is the second-highest win total in team history, and the Patriots spent a good deal of the season ranked in the Top 10.